Free Breakfast at Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A is taking reservations for a FREE breakfast entree item. You can make your reservation starting today, and pick it up the week of September 6-10. Visit this site to make your reservation.

Note: Currently the Chick-Fil-A system is having technical trouble, but make sure to check back soon.

How to Plan A Menu–Making Meal Categories

There are literally millions of recipes out there. No wonder planning a menu can be stressful. Where do you even start?! Well, when it comes to recipes, a little organization goes a long way. By making one meal from a different food genre every day, you’ll avoid repeat meals, and narrow down your choices, making the menu planning process go much faster.

Decide What Food Categories Your Family Likes.
Here are some ideas.

  • Mexican
  • Italian
  • Asian/Stir Fry
  • BBQ/Grilled
  • Casseroles
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Soups
  • Main Dish Salads
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Vegetarian
  • 30 Minute Meals
  • Slow Cooker

When I sit down to plan my menu on Saturdays, I choose 6 categories for the week. Meal 7 is leftovers for us. You choose as many categories as you plan to cook at home that week. Once I have narrowed down my categories, I look through my recipes, and find recipes that fit the categories I’ve chosen.

Many recipes fit into several different categories, but the more broad the category, the longer it will take you to search for recipes. (A Google search for “chicken recipes” brought up 22 million results.)

I learn best with examples, so here’s the idea when you’re planning…
Meal 1-Mexican (Chicken Quesadillas with Black Beans and Green Salad)
Meal 2-Casserole (Chicken and Rice Casserole with Green Beans)
Meals 3&4-30 Minute Meals (BLTs with chips and fruit; Veggie Stir Fry over Noodles)
Meal 5-Fish (Broiled Fish over Rice with Steamed Veggies)
Meal 6-BBQ (Grilled Burgers with Chips and Coleslaw)

I look through my recipe binder for recipes that fit these categories. You can check out my Recipe Page for our Family Favorite recipes. I have also found the Allrecipes Ingredient Search to be helpful when searching for a particular ingredient. Once you’ve learned to plan a menu using categories, instead of spending hours poring through every cookbook you own searching for inspiration, you menu planning experience will go quicker and smoother.

Groupon-Gymboree 60% off!

We purchased this deal on Groupon last year, and my daughter loved the Gymboree programs, especially their art class. We ended up extending our membership for almost a year because we loved it so much. Today on Groupon, get a month’s membership to Gymboree for up to 60% off! ($48 in most markets.) If you’re looking for a fun and safe class for your baby, toddler, or preschooler, Gymboree offers music, art, and play classes.

Menu for the Week. August 14-20, 2011

Greek Feta Chicken, with Warm Pita and Balsamic Mixed Greens

Sunday, August 14
Greek Feta Chicken
Warm Pita Bread
Green Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

Monday, August 15
Mexican Chicken Soft Tacos
Corn on the Cob
Mexican Rice

Tuesday, August 16
Homemade Cheese Pizza
Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Wednesday, August 17
Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado Sandwiches
Balsamic Salad with Toasted Walnuts

Thursday, August 18
Baked Potatoes with all the Fixins
Steamed Broccoli with Homemade Jalapeno Cheese Sauce

Friday, August 19
Homemade Spinach Lasagna
French Bread

Saturday, August 20
Leftovers

I plan to spend $65 this week. Here’s how:

  • Using other protein sources besides meat.
    • The homemade spinach lasagna is a good source of protein, since it has three different kinds of cheese, and all my side salads will include toasted walnuts for extra protein. As a result, I only have to purchase one package of chicken and one package of bacon for the entire week.
  • Using one main side dish throughout the week.
    • I’m making up one batch of salad dressing, which will last me the entire week, as well as one box of salad greens. The other side dishes are fresh, in-season vegetables that I can get very cheaply.
  • Making homemade when possible!
    • I am making homemade pizza crust, salad dressing, and cheese sauce. Making these items myself will save about $8 this week.

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